March 02, 2015
1 min read

Nitrate supplementation improves exercise performance in COPD

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

Dietary nitrate supplementation with beetroot juice increased exercise performance and reduced blood pressure in patients with moderate-to-mild COPD, according to study results.

“One of the benefits of exercise is that if you get positive results, you’re more likely to continue doing it,” Michael J. Berry, PhD, chair, department of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University, said in a press release. “If beetroot juice positively impacts those results, it could motivate COPD patients to continue to be physically active and improve their health.”

Michael Berry

Michael J. Berry

Berry and colleagues conducted a single blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study with 15 patients diagnosed with COPD. The patients were required to undergo a physical examination in which they performed an incremental exercise test on a cycle ergometer. At their second visit, patients completed lung volume and diffusion capacity testing and then were randomly assigned to placebo (visit 3) followed by beetroot juice (visit 4), or beetroot juice (visit 3) followed by placebo (visit 4).

Ingestion of beetroot juice resulted in greater levels of plasma nitrate (P < .001) and nitrate (P = .001) compared with prune juice placebo.

The researchers also determined that the median exercise time was approximately 29 seconds longer when patients drank beetroot juice vs. placebo. Resting systolic blood pressure was lower in patients who consumed beetroot juice vs. placebo (P = .019), and diastolic blood pressure during (P = .001) and after exercise (P = .008) was reduced after beetroot ingestion compared with placebo.

“The sample consisted of patients with mild or moderate disease severity,” the researchers wrote. “It is not known whether acute dietary nitrate supplementation will improve the exercise capacity of patients with severe or very severe COPD.” – by Ryan McDonald

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.